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Postgraduate scholarships schemes

There are a number of postgraduate scholarships available to African scholars to study in the UK. Some are offered as part of broader schemes, which are not restricted to African students, while some are specifically for African students. Information on a number of schemes are given below.

The Education UK scholarships database also contains listing of scholarships for study in the UK for international students.

For international scholarship opportunities for African scholars at universities in any country, visit Research Africa. (Your institution may already have a subscription so contact your research office to check). 

You may also find the funding section of the DocLinks website useful, which includes funding for study in Europe and in Africa.

General scholarship schemes

The Commonwealth Scholarship Commission offers a number of scholarships for postgraduate study to students and academics from Commonwealth African countries. Applications must generally be made via national nominating agencies or via universities in the student's home country. The Commission is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), and hosted by the Association of Commonwealth Universities. Commonwealth Scholarships are available for both Masters and doctoral level study in at UK universities. For details see www.dfid.gov.uk/cscuk

  • The Commonwealth Shared Scholarships Scheme is also managed by the Commission and offers awards for Master's study only. It is funded jointly by host universities in the UK and DFID. For further details see
    www.dfid.gov.uk/cscuk. See also Shared Scholarships offered by UK universities listed below.
  • Commonwealth Split Site Scholarships are also offered, which enable students registered at their home institution to spend one year studying at a UK university. For details see
    www.dfid.gov.uk/cscuk

The Chevening scholarship scheme is a UK government scholarship scheme for international students wishing to undertake postgraduate study in the UK. It is funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and managed by the British Council. Procedures and priority subjects depend on the applicant's home country. For details on how to apply see http://www.chevening.org/

The Canon Collins Trust awards approximately 20-30 postgraduate scholarships to the UK for southern African students each year. Scholarships fall under several different schemes and someare administered in partnership with other sponsors including in partnership with UK universities. All scholarships are for postgraduate study for one academic year. Full scholarships, including maintenance and tuition fees, or partial grants are provided for taught/research masters programmes. For details see www.canoncollins.org.uk/scholarships.html. The Canon Collins Trust also administers awards for southern African students to undertake masters and doctoral study in South Africa. For details see http://www.canoncollins.org.uk/ccsa2016.html

The Beit Trust offers a small number of Scholarships for postgraduate studies or research to graduates who from Malawi, Zambia or Zimbabwe for a maximum of three years. Scholarships are for study at a university in the UK, Ireland or South Africa. A small number of one-year taught Masters degrees are offered at the University of Leeds, known as the Beit Chevening Leeds Scholarship. Similar awards, known as the Beit Chevening Reading Scholarship, are also offered at the University of Reading; and a Beit-Rhodes Scholarship is offered at Rhodes University in South Africa. For further details see www.beittrust.org.uk/Scholarships.htm

Scholarships offered by individual UK universities

UK universities offer their own scholarships for particular courses or to students from particular regions. You should always check the website of the universities at which you are interested in studying - the list below is far from comprehensive, and concentrates on scholarships specifically for students from African or other low-income countries.

Bristol University

The International Office offers five scholarships of £8,500 each for prospective Masters students for 2014 entry. Deadline: 13 June 2014. For details see http://www.bristol.ac.uk/studentfunding/prospective-pg/financial-help/#int

The Faculty of Arts and the Faculty of Social Sciences and law also offer postgraduate scholarships to overseas students, for both research and taught degrees. The deadline is February. For details see (arts) http://www.bristol.ac.uk/arts/gradschool/financial-aid/#research and (social sciences) http://www.bristol.ac.uk/fssl/courses/postgraduate/scholarships/#prosp-info

Oxford University 

Rhodes Scholarships are available to students from Botswana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe to study for postgraduate qualifications at Oxford University. For details see http://www.rhodeshouse.ox.ac.uk/rhodesscholarship/about-the-rhodes-scholarships.

The CSAE Scholarship (Centre for the Study of African Economies, University of Oxford) is worth £10,000 and is to support African students wishing to pursue economic research at the University of Oxford for the degree of D Phil. For details see www.csae.ox.ac.uk/scholarships/CSAE/Mscholar.html

ORISHA Studentships (Oxford Research in the Scholarship and Humanities of Africa) All applicants to the African Studies MSc course can apply for an ORISHA scholarship awarded in the amount of £10,000 towards course and college fees. Every year one student from our applicant pool is selected to receive this award. For further details see www.africanstudies.ox.ac.uk/prospective_students/scholarships/orisha or contact msc.enquiries@africa.ox.ac.uk

University of Durham

The Ruth First Educational Trust Scholarships The trust supports students from Southern Africa to studyfor a master's degree at Durham. Students from Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Republic of South Africa, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe are eligible. Includes tution fees and a monthly stipend of c. £500, as well as free accommodation and meals at St Chad's College. For further details see: www.dur.ac.uk/ruthfirst.trust/

University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh Southern African Scholarships The University offers two scholarships for postgraduate study in any subject offered by the University to students from Southern African countries. Students from the following countries are eligible to apply: Angola, Botswana, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe. For details see http://www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-funding/postgraduate/international/region/southern-africa

The Centre of African Studies at the University of Edinburgh offers a number of scholarships each year for students from any Commonwealth African country for the one year MSc in African Studies, funded by the Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme. For details see www.cas.ed.ac.uk

The Julius Nyerere Master's Scholarships The university will offer three scholarships to students from Tanzania for postgraduate Master's study in any subject offered by the University for the 2014-2015 academic session. Julius Nyerere Master's Scholarships will cover the full overseas tuition fee, living costs of £10,000, and a return flight from Tanzania to the UK. For details see www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-funding/postgraduate/international/region/nyerere

Edinburgh Global Development Academy Master's Scholarship

The University of Edinburgh will offer 1 Master's scholarship covering the overseas rate of fee for students from less developed countries and 3 Master's scholarships covering the "home" rate of tuition fee for UK/EU students for eligible Master's programmes offered by the University.

Scholarships will be available for students pursuing one of the following Global Development Academy programmes:

  • MSc International Development
  • MSc Africa and International Development
  • MSc Environment and Development

Each scholarship for students from less developed countries will cover the overseas rate of tuition fee, while a further two scholarships will cover the UK/EU rate of tuition fee only.

For details see www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-funding/postgraduate/international/global/development

Edinburgh Global Master's Scholarships will offer 40 Master's scholarships for postgraduate study in any subject offered by the University for the 2014-2015 academic session.

Fifteen scholarships will have a value of £5,000 each, while a further twenty-five scholarships will have a value of £3,000 each. These scholarships will be tenable for one academic year and will be deducted from tuition fees. For details see www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-funding/postgraduate/international/global/1.31542

Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships 30 Edinburgh Global Research Scholarships will be awarded for session 2014-2015. Each award covers the difference between the tuition fee for a UK/EU graduate student and that chargeable to an overseas graduate student. The awards do not cover maintenance expenses. For details see: www.ed.ac.uk/schools-departments/student-funding/postgraduate/international/global/1.31536

Institute of Education, University College London, University of London

IOE-Commonwealth Scholarship Commission is offering awards covering air fares, stipend and tuition for candidates from Commonwealth countries. The programmes included in this scheme are: Education and International Development MA, Education, Gender and International Development MA, Education, Health Promotion and International Development MA, Educational Planning, Economics and International Development MA, Development Education MA. For details see: www.ioe.ac.uk/studentInformation/41462.html 

The School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London 

Commonwealth Shared Scholarship Scheme SOAS offers a scholarship for students from African Commonwealth countries under this scheme. For details see www.soas.ac.uk/registry/scholarships/.

Governance for Development in Africa Initiative (GDAI) PhD Scholarships (Centre of African Studies, SOAS)The Mo Ibrahim Foundation’s £1.5 million gift will fund four dedicated programmes at SOAS: 3 Masters scholarships annually; 1 PhD scholarship annually; 1 Residential School in Africa; and the programme of Governance conversations.. For details see http://www.soas.ac.uk/gdai/

University College London

The UCL Centre for International Health and Development offers the African Graduate Scholarship. The scheme offers a substantial scholarship towards an MSc course at the Centre, including UCL tuition fees and some living costs, but candidates must obtain additional funding for their subsistance costs while living in the UK. The deadline for applications is in May of each year.
www.ucl.ac.uk/cihd/postgraduate/scholarships-funding

University of Leeds

Adrian Hastings Africa Scholarship provides funding for research students from Africa studying in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies. For details see www.leeds.ac.uk//trs/Postgraduate%20Pages/pgfees.htm

Transport Africa Masters Scholarship 2014, Institute for Transport Studies - These range from partial course fee payment to full maintenance grants of up to £10000 tax-free plus course fees. The scholarships are designed to provide exceptional opportunities to UK, EU and international students of outstanding ability, achievement and potential.For details see www.its.leeds.ac.uk/courses/masters/scholarships/

Other notable awards

African Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowships. The ADDRF award fellowships in to doctoral students who are within two years of completing their thesis at an African university. In this phase of funding and in consideration of IDRC’s health programming priorities, candidates whose dissertation topics address health policy or health systems issues will be given special consideration. The Program has also reserved a small number of fellowships specifically for doctoral students conducting research on health inequities in urban areas or the reproductive health of marginalized urban communities. These fellowships are funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.